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Best spiced rum 2023: Tantalisingly spicy rums for mixing and sipping

Perfect for fiery cocktails or enjoying neat, these are the best spiced rums to try right now

Spiced rum really is the drink of the hour. But with so many options to choose from, finding the best spiced rum can be a headache – and not just because of all the drinking you’ll be doing. The truth is, there are a lot of decent options out there, and many rums are strikingly similar in price and taste.

However, if you’re looking for a specific style or flavour or you want something that’s good value, it pays to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the rum that really hits the spot. That’s where we come in.

Whether you’re after a fruity pineapple offering, a classic spiced rum bursting with fiery ginger or a smooth sipping rum, our roundup of the best spiced rums has something for everyone. And if this is your first foray into the world of spiced rum, be sure to read our buying guide below.

How to choose the best spiced rum for you

What is spiced rum?

Spiced rum is any kind of rum cut with spices such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, though pretty much any spice can be used. Spiced rums can also be mixed with natural fruit flavours such as pineapple and banana, as well as sugar, for added sweetness.

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Is spiced rum lower quality than regular rum?

Despite being enjoyed for hundreds of years, spiced rum has often had a reputation for being cheap and unsophisticated. Even if that was the case a hundred years ago, it certainly isn’t true today, and you should throw away any negative preconceptions you might have.

While spiced rum is produced by cutting “pure” rum with spices or fruit, this doesn’t diminish the overall quality or personal enjoyment of the tipple. If a spiced rum tastes cheap, it’s probably because the “pure” rum used to make it wasn’t particularly good quality in the first place.

There’s a spiced rum for even the most discerning of rum enthusiasts, so don’t be put off by outdated misconceptions.

Is expensive spiced rum better?

As is the case with all spirits, a higher price tag isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality. This roundup has some fantastic rums for under £25, as well as some pricier options which are ideal for special occasions.

Instead, it’s best to focus on what you want to get from your rum. Do you want flavours and spices that cut through mixers? Or would you prefer something smooth and clean to enjoy neat? Whatever your preferences, the options below are some of the best in their price range.

How we test spiced rum

We test our alcohol by drinking it, using a step-by-step process to select the very best. First, we try each spiced rum on its own, to assess the quality and flavour profile. We’re looking to see if the distiller’s description matches what we can taste, as well as making notes on any interesting flavours we find that aren’t mentioned on the bottle. Following the solo test, we partner each spiced rum with one of its most reliable mixers to see how it fairs in a long drink. Do any new flavours develop? Is the rum lost to the mixer or does it hold its own?

After testing spiced rum on its own and as a mixed drink, we shake things up even more with a cocktail or two to see if it’s best on its own or whether it shines in a Dark and Stormy. Once we’ve concluded our primary tests, we look at comparing the taste and quality against similar products within that price range to ask the all-important question – is it value for money? By taking all of this into account, we’re able to piece together a delectable list for every taste and budget.

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The best spiced rum you can buy in 2023

1. Sly Dog rum: Best modern-style spiced rum

Price when reviewed: £32 (70cl) | Check price at Master of Malt

Sly Dog might have only launched in 2020, but it’s already picked up silver at both the World Rum Awards and London Spirits Competition in 2021. Featuring a blend of rums from distilleries in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, Sly Dog is aged for at least three years before 12 secret spices are added to give it its sweet and spicy finish.

There are powerful aromas of cola and vanilla on first sniff, and these continue into tasting. We noticed some classic spicy notes such as cinnamon and nutmeg too, meaning it’s not completely removed from what you might expect from a classic spiced rum. Sly Dog’s spiced rum is sublimely smooth and sweet enough to enjoy simply over ice or with a mixer such as ginger beer or cola.

Key details – Rum origin: Jamaica and the Dominican Republic; Distillery origin: UK; ABV: 40%; Size: 70cl

Check price at Master of Malt

2. Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum: Best classic spiced rum

Price when reviewed: £32 (70cl) | Check price at Amazon

Packed full of classic spicy flavours including clove, nutmeg and allspice, Chairman’s is very much an old-school spiced rum. It’s distilled and aged in bourbon barrels before spices are added, then it rests for a further six months in oak to allow those signature flavours to develop.

The rum is incredibly rich, with strong raisin and orange notes, and it has a winning, silky-smooth texture that’s ideal for neat sipping and mixing alike. If you like your rum to be reminiscent of a fruity Christmas pudding, this is sure to please.

Key details – Rum origin: ‎St Lucia; Distillery origin: ‎St Lucia; ABV: 40%; Size: 70cl

3. Old J Pineapple Spiced Rum: Best flavoured rum for cocktails

Price when reviewed: £23 (70cl) | Check price at Amazon

Old J was the first spiced rum to win Master status at the 2016 Rum Masters Awards with its original blend. Since then, the distillery has crafted a number of flavoured rums based on the original recipe. The latest addition, Old J Pineapple, takes that classic spicy flavour profile and updates it with a fruity, summer twist.

Made from a blend of rums from the Caribbean, it’s unaged and cut with Old J’s signature spices. Its strong pineapple and vanilla notes make it the perfect base for a fruity cocktail or mixed drink, but it’s also smooth enough for those who prefer a sweet and fruity measure over ice.

While it might not be the most sophisticated rum on this list, Old J Pineapple is a delicious tipple that’s ideal for parties. It’s sensibly priced, too.

Key details – Rum origin: Caribbean; Distillery origin: UK; ABV: 35%; Size: 70cl

4. Lyme Bay Winery Jack Ratt Lugger Rum: Best luxury spiced rum

Price when reviewed: £37 (70cl) | Check price at Master of Malt

With hints of nutmeg and clove, a zing of orange peel and buttery vanilla notes, Jack Ratt rum takes the classic spiced flavours you’re familiar with and tweaks them for the modern palette. It’s both sweet and spicy, though not syrupy, and can be enjoyed on its own or alongside a mixer such as ginger beer or cola.

Made from a blend of rums from Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, the rum is aged in charred bourbon oak casks at Lyme Bay’s winery before those tell-tale spices are added. The rum has a Christmassy flavour profile, but isn’t heavy on the raisin notes, making it lighter and more versatile than classic spiced rums.

Key details – Rum origin: Caribbean; Distillery origin: UK; ABV: 40%; Size: 70cl

Check price at Master of Malt

5. Finders Chocolate and Coffee Spiced Rum: Best unusual spiced rum

Price when reviewed: £25 (70cl) | Check price at Amazon

Unlike other spiced rums, where the spices often dominate the flavour, Finders keeps the rum at the forefront. While there are notes of coffee and chocolate, as well as some orange, brown sugar and spice, these are incredibly subtle, allowing the true flavour of the rum to shine through.

Steeped with oak wood chips for around three months, this subtly spiced rum is delightful on its own over ice or in a rum-based cocktail where the delicate flavours can shine through.

Key details – Rum origin: UK; Distillery origin: UK; ABV: 40%; Size: 70cl

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